One of our customers called to place an order tonight. She ordered two kente tie sets, and I commented that “these always sell a lot during February”. She said that this sounded true; but that she sometimes felt bad because she didn’t start her business to be selling clothing made in India. Her customers wanted these; and they were selling good; but she really wanted to be selling African clothing only.
I feel the same way at different times; but there are several reasons why I think it is good to offer some items made in other countries. Here are my reasons - post a comment after you read this to let me know if you agree or not.
The main reason that we offer these products is because our customers want them. Instead of telling people what they should want, it is better service to help them find what they do want. We don’t offer any products that we consider immoral or destructive (such as liquor or pornography); but clothing made in India is not like these.
It would be wrong to communicate that these are made in Africa when they are not; and we really try to never do this. Almost every catalog and website description includes the country where each product is made. If it causes less sales of African made products, it could also hurt communities in Africa, but in our case it does not, as you will see in a moment.
Another reason for offering African products made somewhere else, is that it allows us to sell African products for less; and to sell more of them. If the non-African made products help support the business, we can sell African made items with a much lower markup. The more affordable these products become; the more of them are purchased. This helps support communities in Africa, which is our main reason for being in business.
I didn’t go into this business thinking that I would be selling some of these products. Offering them has helped us to sell more African made products than we probably ever could have otherwise however.
If you offer soaps that are made in the US (that your customers like), they will come back to you again for the soap. They will also remember you better and more often for the other items that you offer. Don’t stop selling African made products. You can offer more of them; and make them a better deal for your customers. One way you can do this is to be servicing your customers with some of the other products that they want too.
There is another web page on our site about. You can see more detail about this here.
The customer who called has only been buying from us for the last seven months; and she is selling about $1,000. per month of products that she buys from us. She also sells some of her own line of clothing. She and I are a lot alike in the way that we think.
What do you think though. Leave your own opinion here. I’ve been wrong about things before. I’ve thought about this a lot, but if you think I have a blind spot with this issue, please let me know.
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